Long term vacancy tax on property for own use.
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10 years ago
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I have a property which in the past I have let as four flats. It's a merchant's three storey house Ca.1850 with a single front door and one staircase, each storey previously forming a flat with the fourth flat in an annex which shares the staircase and main front door.

In 2012 I moved into three of the flats while continuing to let the annex. I use the middle storey as living and office accommodation, the one above for cooking, and the one below (which no longer has a kitchen) for storing a large quantity of furniture. None of the tree erstwhile flats is advertised to let. While I accept that I am liable to pay council tax on all three "flats", I have argued to the council that they should not charge a long term vacancy premium on two of them. They have rejected this. I say that the three old flats are now my single abode, and the house is once again being used much as originally intended. They say it is not possible to live in more than one flat at a time, even though I have no intention of letting the remaining space.

I'm interested in your opinion as to whether I must be considered as a landlord in possession of two vacant flats, as the council implies, and what steps I might take to win my argument.

Chris Bastian.

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